Witnesses forget, says IFP of arms deal

2013-01-17 22:09

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Johannesburg - The Inkatha Freedom Party said on Thursday the public would probably never know the truth about the arms deal.

That's after the integrity of the Seriti commission probing the arms deal was reportedly questioned in a resignation letter by a senior commission investigator.

Norman Moabi, a lawyer and former acting judge from Pretoria, alleged in the letter, which was leaked to Beeld newspaper, that the commission was not being transparent and was concealing an alternative or "second agenda".

"Years and years go by, witnesses die and some forget details," an IFP justice spokesperson said.

Moabi wrote in the letter, which was addressed to Judge Willie Seriti, that he was resigning because of interference and because he had lost faith in the commission's work.

"I joined the commission to serve with integrity, dignity and dedication to truth. I cannot, in all conscience, pretend to be blind to what is actually going on at the commission."

According to Moabi, Seriti ruled the commission with an iron fist and facts were manipulated or withheld from commissioners.

Contributions from commissioners who did not pursue the "second agenda" were frequently ignored.

Beeld contacted Moabi, but he declined to comment.

Mandate

Seriti commission spokesperson William Baloyi said it would fulfill its mandate, as requested by President Jacob Zuma.

"Any other agenda referred to by Mr Moabi is a delusion."

Justice ministry spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga declined to comment, and said Moabi's letter had been addressed to the commission, and not to the ministry.

As such, it would be inappropriate for the ministry to comment, which was why the matter was being dealt with by Baloyi.

Hearings are expected to start in March.

The multi-million rand arms deal has dogged South Africa's politics since it was signed in 1999, after then Pan Africanist Congress MP Patricia de Lille raised allegations of corruption in Parliament.

Zuma was himself charged with corruption after his financial adviser Schabir Shaik, who had a tender to supply part of the requirements, was found to have facilitated a bribe for him from a French arms company.

The charges against Zuma were later dropped.


- SAPA

Read more on:    willie seriti  |  patricia de lille  |  schabir shaik  |  jacob zuma  |  arms deal
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